The incidentaloma: a medicolegal dilemma

Radiol Clin North Am. 2011 Mar;49(2):245-55. doi: 10.1016/j.rcl.2010.11.002.


With the advent of high-resolution computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasonography, the frequency of radiologists' serendipitous discovery of incidentalomas is increasing. If the radiologist believes an incidentaloma is of no clinical significance, then making mention of it in the radiological report may possibly lead to a cascade of tests, biopsies, and other surgical procedures, which occasionally can cause serious complications. But if the incidentaloma is not reported and it later turns out to be an early carcinoma or sign of other significant disease, the patient's health may be irreversibly jeopardized. In either case, medical malpractice litigation could well ensue.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dentigerous Cyst / diagnostic imaging*
  • Diagnostic Errors / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidental Findings*
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Malpractice / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed